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December Newsletter

CONTENTSDates for my 2020 Meetups and Retreats | Report on our Urban-Rural exhibition in China | Next steps for the Social Food Atlas | Recent publications | Thirty-two case-study collections |Five recommended books 2020 MEETUPS/RETREATSFor a second year, I’m hosting week-long Meetups|Project Retreats| Residencies at our home in France. If you are a designer, project […]

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People Doing Stuff: Case Study Collections

Words like climate, system, or sustainability are passive. What does work – in reducing the sense of powerlessness and isolation – are examples of real people, taking practical steps, right now. With that lesson in mind, here is a list of case study collections that I’ve found useful, and often inspiring, in my own work. […]

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Urban-Rural: 10 Takeaways

The Zhangyan Harvests Future Country Living Festival in Shanghai included an exhibition called Urban-Rural. that I curated. Here are 82 slides of the event.https://www.slideshare.net/johnthackara/urbanrural-exhibition-shanghai-november-2019-john-thackara-personal-slides Below are my ten takeaways. Scroll down for Chinese. 1. We’re in a transition from the oil age to the soil age. The projects in Urban-Rural are signals of what the […]

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Press Release: Urban-Rural exhibition in Shanghai

Shanghai 28 October 2019FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEZhangyan Harvests Future Country Living FestivalJohn Thackara curates Urban-Rural exhibition Many people want to reconnect with nature and rural life – but cannot move out of the city for good. Zhangyan Harvests Festival in Shanghai, on 3 and 4 November, is filled with practical ways to reconnect the two worlds. […]

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John Thackara Newsletter October 2019

Winter Residencies Could you use some quiet and private time to focus and reflect? Maybe with some exclusive support from me? We’re hosting Residencies this winter in our old house in the south of France. Meetups in 2020 Our three meetups here in Ganges (France) this summer went so well (as you can see from […]

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Three texts, a book, two meet-ups, and one off-site that you might have missed


(TEXT 1) CARE, VALUE, PLACE: DESIGN RESEARCH IN CHINAIn April, I began work as an adjunct (visiting) professor at Tongji University (College of Design and Innovation) in Shanghai. As part of the appointment process, I submitted this research statement. It describes the three research topics that will be the focus of my work in China: […]

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Urban-Rural Re-connection

Urban-Rural Connection special issue – with my (6k words) paper Bioregioning: Pathways to Urban-Rural Reconnection and a reading list. Keywords: Bioregion | Urban-rural reconnection | Civic ecology | Social infrastructure | Smart villages | System change | Knowledge ecologies

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Social Food Forum: the takeaways

As a legacy of #Matera2019 in Italy, a meeting of 15 social food curators met in Matera for the launch of a Social Food Forum and Social Food Atlas. Social Food Projects include municipal gardens and urban farms; community meals; social harvest festivals; farmer-to-farmer meet-ups; food waste platforms; community kitchens; community baking and brewing sites; […]

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Social Farming

At Pontio, in North Wales, a new Masters by Research in Relational Design (#api_MRRD) helps you make a positive step-change in a live wellness project for a region. Here is one project scenario: develop a service, or platform, to meet the growing need for social farming. Scroll down for other project ideas. (Shown above: a […]

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